Touchscreen technology has come a long ways over the years, with manufacturers continuing to push the boundaries of what’s possible. One of the latest innovations is this industry comes from the company Tanvas, who’s looking to add texture to the haptics feedback created by traditional touchscreen technologies. So, how exactly does this concept work?
When presenting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Tanvas revealed a bold new idea: they want consumers to be able to feel the fabric of clothes before making an online purchase. If you’re shopping for a new shirt via your touchscreen device, for instance, you could feel the surface of your device to determine how the shirt feels. Shopping online certainly has its perks over shopping in person. You typically get more competitive prices; you don’t have to worry about going to the store; and you can shop 24/7, regardless of whether the brick-and-mortar store is open. But shopping online also means you won’t have the ability to see and feel the product in person — something that Tanvas is hoping to overcome with the invention of its latest product.
Of course, touchscreen devices (some, at least) have the ability to produce haptics feedback. This existing technology creates vibration and/or sound in response to a user’s touch, essentially telling him or her that their keypress was properly registered. Tanvas Touch goes one step further, however, creating unique texture that correspond to what the user is touching. If a user is searching for silk clothes online, for instance, the screen will feel soft and smooth like silk. If the user is searching for wool clothes, the surface will feel thick and warm like wool — you get the idea.
It’s important to note that while Tanvas presented its new Tanvas Touch at the CES, not everyone was thrilled with its functionality. One reporter couldn’t tell a difference between wood, cobblestone and grass when feeling the Tanvas Touch device. Being that it’s still in the early stages of development, it’s safe to assume Tanvas will make some improvements to the device.
Will the Tanvas release the Tanvas Touch for general availability? That question remains open for debate. Nonetheless, the Tanvas Touch certainly looks promising, and perhaps it could one day change the way in which we shop for products online.